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Zzebra biography
Zzebra came out of the ashes of the British brass-rock band IF and ex-OSIBISA member joining forces with singing keyboardist Gus Yeadon . Main songwriter and wind-player Dave Quincy and guitarist Terry Smith had left If after their fourth album and met Loghty Amaio to found ZZebra, which was set to incorporate lots of African music elements. Irish drummer Liam Geniocky and Scott John McCoy on bass rounded the line-up. Keyboardist and wind-player (and also songwriter) Gus Yeadon left throughout the first album's recording, bringing the much-travelled Tommy Eyre (ex-Ainsley Dunbar and Mark-Almond) to finish up anf thus remaining a sextet. The music was a special brand of funky brass-rock that could easily compare with MANDRILL, CYMANDE, OSIBISA and DEMON FUZZ or even WAR (with or without Eric Burdon)

Later the same year, they recorded their second album called Panic, but by that time, they'd become a septet by hiring Alan Marshall on vocals. During the Panic (album's name) recording sessions, guitarist Terry Smith left, so in came Steve Byrd to finally make the line-up stable. The band kept on touring in the UK and US, but for some reasons, the group never released their third album, until the Disconforme label reissued the two historical albums, doing the same for Take It Or Leave It in 99.

:::: Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium ::::

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ZZEBRA Videos (YouTube and more)

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Buy ZZEBRA Music

Zzebra Plus / Panic PlusZzebra Plus / Panic Plus
Edge Mus640 2011
$12.99 (used)
Lost WorldLost World
Angel Air 2001
$10.69 (used)
Panic [VINYL]Panic [VINYL]
$20.64 (used)
Panic 1975 by ZzebraPanic 1975 by Zzebra
Disconforme Spain
$99.30 (used)
$109.00 (used)
Zzebra - Zzebra +Bonus (Remaster) [Japan LTD Mini LP CD] AIRAC-1716Zzebra - Zzebra +Bonus (Remaster) [Japan LTD Mini LP CD] AIRAC-1716
Indies Japan
$17.08 (used)
Limited Edition
Airmail Japan 2013
$52.08 (used)
Take It Or Leave It 1975Take It Or Leave It 1975
Disconforme Spain 2004
$32.90 (used)

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ZZEBRA discography

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ZZEBRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 19 ratings
3.69 | 23 ratings
2.31 | 7 ratings
Take It Or Leave It
2.53 | 6 ratings
Lost World

ZZEBRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ZZEBRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ZZEBRA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ZZEBRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ZZEBRA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lost World by ZZEBRA album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.53 | 6 ratings

Lost World
Zzebra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

2 stars Ah well, while I am at it, mainly because I mentioned Zzebra in relation of IF before. Also because there is not a single rating to this piece, yet. But that's hardly a surprise.

When legendary British Jazz-Rock band IF "expired" some former members resurrected the spirit by forming Zzebra that included parts of former Osibisa crew. After a somewhat promising start, this band, too suffered from changes in line-up and direction. This, their fourth - last - album features Dave Quincy (saxes) as the last remaining IF member and the music no longer bears much semblance to that band.

The material here sounds more like Osibisa doing their filler tunes and calling it even Prog- Related (as far as the music is concerned) would require a stretch of imagination. Contrary to the odd, nice solo, this work as a whole lacks inspiration. Santana-like rhythms, Soul, African, R&B, Jazz are thrown in in no particular harmony and those styles performed at the bottom end of their respective genres and poorly (not) blended together.

Some live tunes are added to the work and they lift the game however slightly, but really, this album is rather poor and best to be avoided. 2.5 at the most.

 Panic by ZZEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.69 | 23 ratings

Zzebra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars ZZebra play a varied blend of progressive rock, jazz, African rhythms and fusion, performed by an outstanding line-up of musicians. The intensity and passion with which the band plays is inspiring, and while I may not totally love every bit of it, generally the music is extremely high quality, so I hope this review might encourage some others to look into tracking a copy down. I find this album far superior to the debut album, which has a much higher profile and seems to be considered the better of the two.

I was lucky enough to come across this album in a dusty and dirty crate at a garage sale, in amongst a whole lot of dross records! The cover was not in the best condition, but the record itself played pretty well. Strange enough, my copy of this album comes with the illustration of the animals that was from a later LP cover. Not sure what the story is there!

The album has an equal amount of instrumental and vocal tracks, so there's a good chance many listeners would find something to interest them. There's Santana-like rockers, long jazz workouts and funk/soul jams. Some more forgiving mid-period Soft Machine fans would probably find much to enjoy here. There's also a somewhat murky, dirty mix in the production that gives the album that bit of extra grit.

Listen to that furious drumming, dirty sax, pumping bass and energized electric piano playing on the lead title track! It's got a really relentless kick to it. Nice shimmering synths in the middle, good soulful vocals, too. Great way to set the tone of the album!

Next up is a wonderful and highly inventive instrumental interpretation of `You've Lost That Loving Feeling', quite unrecognizable in some parts! Wonderful sax playing that doesn't sound schmaltzy at all, and some beautiful lead guitar work that alternates between fuzzy electric stabs and quick, tasteful melodic runs. Then there's the jammy ending where the track falls away into spectral synths, commanding bass, jazzy drumming, and glistening electric piano! Outstanding!

A hard edged noisy and furious jazz-funk blowout, the instrumental `Karrola' reminds me a little of Soft Machine with the murky production, wild electric piano and fluid bass. The very brief Afro-beat moments don't intrude at all! Another killer track.

`Liamo' slows the pace down for a more atmospheric jazz-funk piece. Terrific sax playing on this one, with the bass mixed up nice and prominent. There's almost chanted vocals, but I can't quite make out what they're saying! This track is a real exercise in restraint, and all of the musicians compliment eachother perfectly.

Side two opens with a short unsettling instrumental called `Death By Drowning'. Dream-like electric piano, harsh electronic effects, dingy bass, with a lonely sax gently wailing away. Strangely hypnotic, it then segues into `Tree', a superb funky track that has great sax playing, charming vocals and sleek synths. But the real treat is an absolute knockout keyboard solo in the middle! Pretty sure it's a minimoog, it goes absolutely ballistic, with the rapid-fire drumming and pumping bass tearing the track completely apart! The mixing seems to pump these three right up!

`Put A Light On Me', a playful Santana band styled rocking funk stomper, has commanding and forceful vocals with some very groovy bass playing. Tight and concise, there's not much room on this one for extended flashy solos, and it's probably the most vocal-prominent track on the album, with a very catchy chorus.

The album ends with a rapid-fire `Return To Forever' kicking instrumental blow-out `La Si Si-La So So', roaring sax, driving electric piano, and a killer snarly electric guitar solo that absolutely loses the plot! Every band members gives each other space to shine on this one, and it ends the album on a very upbeat and exciting manner, really takes it out with a bang.

The album truly belongs to keyboard player Tommy Eyre, who's keyboard sound is a very dominant factor on this recording. He's all over the place, with a number of long noisy solos, tasteful playing and endless variety throughout the entire album.

Special mention must go to young self-taught 17 year old guitarist Steve Byrd, who is exceptional throughout his few standout moments. Apparently Byrd was brought into the band well after recording of this album had begun, so it's a shame he's not used more often. Especially listen to his lovely acoustic solo on the second track!

Many may consider the wide variety of styles and ideas as being unfocused and not knowing what direction to head in, and the vocals are certainly a little dated. I'm sure some listeners will be turned off by them, I found them usually very honest. But overall this is a very thrilling and eclectic album full of outstanding musicianship and colourful players. `Panic' was a real favourite of mine a few years back, I played it all the time! Now I'm happy to spread the word to other listeners, so please don't hesitate to snap it up if you're lucky enough to come across a copy!

 Zzebra by ZZEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.82 | 19 ratings

Zzebra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars A UK-based Jazz/Folk/Blues-Rock outfit,Zzebra were formed around 1973 by guitarist Terry Smith and sax player Dave Quincey,both coming from Jazz-Rockers If and flutist/sax player Loughty Amao (ex-Osibisa),along with Gus Yeadon on keyboards/piano,drummer Liam Genockey and bassist John McCoy.Their self-titled debut was released originally on Polydor in 1974.

The sextet decided to throw in this album all possible Jazz-related styles around,from If-related Jazz-Rock to Blues-Rock to Funk with a bit of African Folk and strong use of percussion.Thus,the album ended up to be really inconsistent,far from tight and fairly commercial at some point.Tracks like ''Man Jong'',''Hungry horse'' or ''Spanish fly'' show the band delivering really cool Jazz-Rock with plenty of saxes,almost fiery guitars at moments,decent piano lines and a furious strong rhythm section,indicating the real talent of Zzebra's members.The rest of the album though doesn't follow the same path.The first two cuts are mediocre Funk/Blues numbers with little to offer,''Ife'' is pure African Folk music only interesting for fans of the style,''Amuso Fi'' is an average Brass Rock track,while ''Rainbow train'' is a bit better,a somewhat Heavy/Jazz-Rock cut with a commercial sound but decent instrumental parts.However the vocals on the whole release are below average and do not help at all.

A bit of a dissapointment actually.I was expecting far more from this band and release but ''Zzebra'' would be an interesting release only to Jazz-Rock lovers,who want to listen to another about 20 minutes of nice Jazz-Rock and dont mind if the rest of the album is far from the style...2.5 stars.

 Take It Or Leave It by ZZEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.31 | 7 ratings

Take It Or Leave It
Zzebra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

Strangely enough, Zzebra never released their third album, recorded in late 75, and it's never mentioned why either. The group seemed to finally reach stability with an unchanged line-up. Anyway, apparently it received its first legit issue at the same time the German label Disconforme reissued the other two historic albums.

This album is the logical continuity of Panic, with its ever softer jazz tracks, and the vocals, courtesy of Alan Marshall are not helping, sending Zzebra more mainstream jazz-funk. Most of what would've been the album's first side is relatively boring, soft, sometimes veering at sometimes at crooner tunes out of which the African themed Bai La Jo is probably the most remarkable. The second part of the album is a bit more alive with more upbeat tunes. The slow starting Word Trips might have been a highlight, especially in the middle section, but the chorus gives it some MOR feel and the title track bears some ZZ Top riff over a light funk jazz. The hilariously titled Evacuate My Sack fails to enthuse (probably exhaust problems > always delicate in the sack) and the closing society sounds like Chris Farlowe is at the mike.

Not as good as the debut or Panic, this third (and now finally released) album remain good, but hardly essential, this is more for completists if you are into, Zzebra. This album also came out with a different cover and some bonus live tracks, but it doesn't make it anymore essential.

 Zzebra by ZZEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.82 | 19 ratings

Zzebra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Zzebra's debut album is a most enjoyable jazzy ethnic brass rock enveloped in a sublime night/day window artwork, released late 74. The sextet present up to three brass player in its line-up, namely Quincy, Yeadon and Amao but the first two also play keyboards, while the third adds all of those delightful percussions. Interestingly enough the three brass players are the main songwriters as well and in the decreasing order I placed them. Completed by other If man Smith on guirtars and the Gaelic rhythm section of Genocky and McCoy, the group saw Gus Yeadon leave more or less at the end of the album's recording, and his buddy Tommy Eyre came in a did the remaining parts still missing, but he ended up staying.

Starting on the delightful Cobra Women, a last beat heating up periodically to fit the more nervous/dramatic passages, this track being with Spanish Fly one of the album's highligths. The following two tracks Mr J and Mah Jong are definitely more upbeat, both electric piano-driven and can easily be confused, for I find numerous sonic similarities between them. Ifé is a very sweet- African starting track that gives much flavour to this group. The afore-mentioned Spanish Fly has a dramatic tinge to it, and although Terry Smith is no Carlos Santana, he doesn't ridicule himself either. Amuso Fi starts softly to disappear in a percussion solo (or duet with Genocki), before re-appearing amidst plenty of piano and the overlong repetitive outro. Rainbow Song is easily the weak link of the album, with a pure brassy RnR beat and no invention or even catchy hooks for itself. Hungry Horse however more than makes up for it with incredible splash of virtuosi musical interplay, including a bunch of percussion breaks. It's just a bit too long in its closing section with the repetition of the chorus.

While maybe not as exciting as Cymande or Mandrill's debut album, Zzebra's first album still remains very much worth hearing and even owning. If you're into much brass instruments in your music, Zzebra is right up your alley.

 Panic by ZZEBRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.69 | 23 ratings

Zzebra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Second album from Zzebra being now a septet, having hired a full-time vocalist Alan Marshall, despite having four instrumentals on the present album. Musically the group sounds more or less the same than on the debut album, as Marshall doesn't sound that different to Yeadon. As Yeadon had done (pun not intended, but left in the text), guitarist Terry Smith will leave in the course of the album's recording. This recording occurred in summer 75 and the album received a all black artwork with the silver group lodo and red album title, and most tracks seem to melt into one another, or the transition is particularly smooth.

Right from the brassy opening title track, right through the gentle but slowly crescendoing Lost That Loving Feeling (a Spector cover, transformed into an instrumental), the album seems tamer than its predecessor, but the wild upbeat Karela (with its African scats) changes things a little, but the Liamo goes back to the slower tempos, while the song title sounds like chants, while the musicians show perfect capacities in listening to what the others are doing. The only Eyre-penned track Death By Drowning is a gloomy track where his electric piano takes the front row, but the peak of the album is coming in the form of Tree, which starts out smoothly enough, but going through a series of change and even peaking once or twice, before the vocals take over. Light on Me sounds a bit as if Chris Farlowe and joined the group. The second blast in this album is the outstanding closing La-Si-Si, a red hot fusion track where the group now decides tu let it rip and the musician can let loose their respective virtuosity.

In some ways, Panic is a better album than the debut, but the surprise is gone. Overall the number of instrumentals obviously leaves more space for the musicians to express themselves and interplay between each other. If you're looking for hysteric singer and guitar histrionics, you'd better move away, Zzebra is not such an animal, but if you're looking for tight funky brass rock and plenty of arrangements, please step up to the plate... but you'd better start with the debut.

Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition.

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